HASTe Blog

Beyond IWalk

Submitted by: Omar

Wondering what happened to International Walk to School (IWalk) Week? You're not alone. Ten years ago, over a million students from across the world participated in the week-long celebration of walking that is (was?) IWalk. Today, the event is little more than a memory.

But fear not - two local organizations are keeping the spirit of IWalk alive, organizing events that schools can participate in during what was traditionally IWalk Week to encourage families to walk and roll to school, and celebrate the benefits of active travel.

All schools in BC can register for Walk and Wheel to School Week through the DASH BC Website, joining schools across the province and receiving resources and support.

Schools in Metro Vancouver can take part in TransLink's innaugural "I Love Transit" week. Students travel free on transit all week long, and teachers can enter contests to bring transit learning into their classroom - or is it the other way around?

Rollin' Down the Stairs Too Tired To Move

Submitted by: Omar

Participaction has released their 2016 Report Card on physical activity for children and youth, and once again, the news isn't great.

For the first time, the report writers looked at the connection between sleep and physical activity. Their conclusion seems counter-intuitive: our children's lack of physical activity may be making it difficult for them to get the amount of sleep they need. But the evidence supports their assertion, and is (along with the rest of the report card) definitely worth a read.

Bike to School Week Champion - Lauren Lan

Submitted by: mikesmith

We always seem to tell ourselves that change is a good thing - but what about the things in life that never change, and still remain awesome. Like the feeling you get when you ride a bike (see above photo for example). Fully appreciating this "feeling" is why Lauren Lan from Courtenay BC, is this week's Bike to School Week Champion. Click here to read more about her.

And don't forget to register your school for Bike to School Week, whether you're in Metro Vancouver or anywhere else in the Province.

"I knew first-hand the benefits of kids cycling and wanted to share that opportunity with the rest of the school." - Lauren Lan

Lauren Lan is a parent and PAC secretary at École Robb Road in Courtenay, BC, and like many Bike to School Week organizers across the province she is excited to get kids on their bikes and riding. Last year, the school had strong support from the PAC but also from local businesses in the community for BTSW, which allowed them to give away a number of varying prizes. The school used a passport program for tracking students' biking progress. Every student received a sheet on which they were able to track their daily number of kilometers traveled, and they also placed stickers on a large road map for every day that they biked to school. At the end of the week the total number of kilometers were tallied for the entire school.

Lauren encouraged kids who lived farther away from school to cycle by setting up “Kiss and Go” zones where children could get dropped off away from school and bike in with family and friends. A notable success of Bike to School Week at École Robb Road has been the pledge programs, which have raised enough money to fund the purchase and installation of a covered bicycle rack at the school. This has made it more convenient for kids to cycle and lock their bikes in a safe place, and shows the school’s commitment to cycling.

When asked about planning a successful Bike to School Week, Lauren recommends having different activities that will appeal to kids of different ages. She suggests creating a visual display of the total number of kilometers cycled by the school during the week, and has also found that sending out a survey to parents to determine the barriers to cycling can be very helpful in planning the big event.

Congratulations to Lauren for keeping it "wheel"!

We've got a few more champions to profile as we get closer to Bike to School Week so stay tuned! And don't forget to register your school for Bike to School Week by following the links below:

Registration for Metro Vancouver schools.

Registration for schools outside of Metro Vancouver.

Ernette Hutchings-Mason

Bike to School Week Champion - Chris Martin

Submitted by: mikesmith

One sings for the world famous progressive rock band, Coldplay, and the other is a teacher and Youth Cycling Advocate in Kamloops, BC. Both of them are total ROCK STARS. We don't really care much for the singer so we're going to talk about the other one. Click here to read more about him.

And don't forget to register your school for Bike to School Week, whether you're in Metro Vancouver or anywhere else in the Province

Primary school teacher, youth cycling coach, and father; these are some of the many roles that Chris Martin regularly takes on. Chris is an avid bicycle commuter and loves to mountain bike in his spare time. He has been organizing Bike to School Week at David Thompson Elementary in Kamloops for the past 3 years because he knows first hand the day-to-day benefits of cycling to school and work.

Preparation for last year’s Bike to School Week at David Thompson started by sending a newsletter to all parents and students at the beginning of May to announce the big event. Chris made weekly in-school announcements leading up to Bike to School Week, and daily announcements during the week itself. The school’s leadership students designed promotional posters and went class-to-class to give presentations as a way to get others excited about the event.

For each day that students cycled to school they were entered into a draw to win prizes. Chris networked extensively within the community and was able to give away about 70 donated prizes last year, which translated to almost every student who cycled winning a prize. The RCMP visited the school during Bike to School Week to promote safe cycling habits and Chris organized a bike train for the first time, which saw over 50 riders cycle together to school. The bike train was featured on the local Shaw Cable channel:


When asked for advice, Chris says that "involving parents and teachers is important to having a successful Bike to School Week, and that it is important to practice what you preach and make sure that kids are congratulated for their cycling achievements."

Great work, Chris!

Stay tuned for more profiles over the coming weeks and follow the links to register for this year's event!

Registration for Metro Vancouver schools.

Registration for schools outside of Metro Vancouver.

Ernette Hutchings-Mason

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